Thursday, January 15, 2015

Leser Focus - My special statement on the rampant and intentional dishonesty of Conservative Punditry

This can be heard as delivered on KCAA 1050am on my Tuesday 1-13-2015 show by downloading the .mp3 file by clicking this link:

I noted with some amusement the tribulations of Steve Emerson, a conservative and self-proclaimed expert in terrorism who made some interesting claims on TV the other day.
Mr Emerson exclaimed that quote:

“In Britain, it’s not just no-go zones, there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in. And, parts of London, there are actually Muslim religious police that actually beat and actually wound seriously anyone who doesn’t dress according to religious Muslim attire.”

Now folks, Birmingham is one of the United Kingdom’s largest cities with a population of about a million people. Fourteen percent of those people are Muslim, it is not totally Muslim as Mr. Emerson claims. There are no Muslim religious police anywhere in the UK and no police of any kind who attempt to enforce Sharia or Muslim laws including those on dress.

Emerson’s statements were widely retweeted and made it to the British Government. UK Prime Minister David Cameron was having breakfast when the allegation was reported to him and he says he nearly choked on his porridge. He said of Emerson that “he must be a complete idiot.”

Mr. Emerson also blamed the Oklahoma City bombing on Muslims.

Mr. Emerson is popular with Conservatives because he likes to blame the President and European Leaders for terrorism, who he and they regard as too left wing. An August 2014 article by Mr. Emerson is titled “The President’s True Colors Finally Revealed” and excoriates President Obama for offering to Hamas to guarantee Israeli adherence to any peace agreement that would be signed. This is supposed proof of the President hating Israel and being an ally of Hamas who Emerson goes to great pains to identify as an organization of bad people.

What I encounter far too often when I debate conservatives both in media and in personal appearances are people who simply make stuff up to attack Democrats and the President. Mr. Emerson was caught here and he finally apologized because his falsehoods were easily demonstrable and his statements went viral on twitter. If both of those things hadn’t been the case, he would have gotten away with it and those who watched him on TV would have simply believed what he had said.

That happens as I said, far too often. Conservatives in media here in the US are deliberately misinforming their fans and constituents on a daily basis. There have been a number of studies that have come out where grassroots conservatives were asked about certain things and they regurgitate answers that are not true about a host of things that they said they were told on conservative media.

According to Chris Mooney who recently came out with a book titled "The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science and Reality.", Conservatives are, by and large, authoritarian and absolute in their beliefs, and they limit challenges against their belief systems by surrounding themselves with sources of information that will tell them they are right...and by defiantly, even violently, challenging those who tell them they are wrong.

Mooney’s book illustrates a number of the survey’s I was just mentioning about such things like were there WMD in Iraq, there weren’t but Conservatives think there were, is Global Warming in dispute as far as the Scientific Community is concerned, it’s not but Conservatives think it is. Mooney has many other examples.

We can point to politifact lies of the year for the last six years since President Obama has been in office. Most of those are lies by Conservative media personalities and Republican elected officials about the President and his programs.

I hope we see more instances where Conservative pundits are called out for lying via a viral social media response. Deliberately misleading the public when you are one of the folks who is in the media and trusted to deliver truthful information is a despicable act.